Is there a market for “trial-run” websites?

I am thinking of starting a web presence creation business. I’m not a web designer but I want to help small business owners that don’t have the time or knowledge to create a website and aren’t ready to invest in a real web designer. I would market my services as sort of a trial run to the real thing and would be up front about the limitations of my services.

My inspiration for this idea came from my experience helping my husband get his counseling business off the ground. There was no money for a professional web designer and he didn’t really need a lot. He has no knowledge of how to create a website, register a domain, choose a web host, create google ads, etc. So, I set up his site and his ads. I got him to start blogging, after I set up his account. I really enjoyed doing it and wondered if others would like to get started online but were in the same position he was.

I got this question from Rainie who has just helped her husband set up his business’ website and associated blog and was looking to see whether this was something she could turn into a profitable venture. It’s a great question and I’m sure that at some time or other this graces the mind of anyone who’s ever set up their own or someone else’s online presence.

Well Rainie, I believe there’s a market for pretty much anything that people are ready to do, however there are some major questions you need to ask yourself before embarking on something like this. This list isn’t exhaustive, but just some ideas that struck me while reading your question:

  • Can I attract enough paying customers? For a business to be commercially viable it relies on having a steady stream of paying customers coming through the door. You should be thinking about what you can charge for your services and whether the market you’re trying to attract is ready to pay the price. I’m sure there are countless people out there who would love to have someone build a website for them, but the reality is that you have bills to pay at the end of the month and if you can earn more working at your local McDonalds, then it’s probably not worth doing.
  • Are you selling the right thing? There was one thing that worried me about your proposal; you said you aren’t a web designer, yet interested in selling web design. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying your skills aren’t valuable, but you seem to be pitching this wrong. What you seem to have done is helped your husband set himself up online, trained him in the process, then guided him as he learnt to do it himself. Are you in the web design business? Or in the training business? How about “online relations”? There are thousands of web designers out there, but if you can position yourself as something unique, you can stand out from the crowd and make a name for yourself.
  • Are you ready to commit yourself? Starting up a new venture always takes up much more time and effort than you imagine. You’ll be thinking about this when you open the curtains in the morning and still thinking about it when you lay your head down on your pillow at night. Luckily this is something you enjoy, but are you ready to give up evenings and weekends to help grow your new venture?

Unfortunately I don’t have a crystal ball that tells the future, so I can’t tell you if you will be successful or not, but I hope that these questions help you clarify the idea in your mind and I wish you the best of luck. And don’t forget, if you ever get stuck, you can always Ask Owen 😉

5 thoughts on “Is there a market for “trial-run” websites?”

  1. It is very difficult to break into this business if you don’t know how to design a website. There just are so many things that you will encounter. However, having said that, we offer design services but I’m not a designer. That’s where you will need an employee or a subcontractor.

    Good luck!

  2. Thanks for the feedback, Bob. My plan is to find local businesses that do not have an online presence and go ask them why they don’t. If their reasons are the same as the ones my husband had, then I’ll know I’m on the right path. If not, then I’ll have a lot of extra free time! :p

  3. Rainie, I am not a trained designer, yet I have a successful design business that is about 1 1/2 years old. In April of 2007, I started out creating and installing only headers because that was all I knew how to do. My description was “Custom headers at affordable prices.”

    If you visit my site, you will see that the tag line is now “Custom website and blog designs at affordable prices.” Along the way, I have learned CSS, HTML, some PHP, and too much more to list. Now I am offering custom and premade blog designs, custom and premade business/blog/Mommy cards, and custom website creation and redesign services. My business has a reputation for excellent customer service and high quality work, and people are ordering.

    I said all that to let you know that I think you should pursue your idea. You can learn as you go; I certainly have, and I suspect everyone does. Don’t be afraid to take on something new; there are all kinds of resources available on the Internet if you happen to get stuck.

    Because you want to create a budget website setup business, I would recommend your reading a book I recently borrowed from my local library – Web Design on a Shoestring by Carrie Bickner. This book tells you how to offer the greatest quality for the lowest price.

    I’d be happy to share with you tips and advice gleaned from my experiences. If you are interested, you can contact me through admin at designsbyrs dot com. I wish you well!

  4. I know so many people who did not doing any web designing course from any affiliated institution & doing successfully web designing business from there home. you can also lookup this website, may be they help you in your business.
    what is a business plan

    Thank you

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